Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hair Lightening Experience: Part 2 (+ How I Prevent my Lightened Hair from Breaking)

Hi Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

This post is a little earlier than my normal Wednesday post since I'm going to be traveling for a lot of tomorrow and want to make sure you get your weekly dose of the S+SR.  As you may know from my Instragram, Facebook, or Twitter, I have been in the process of making my naturally black hair blonde-ish.

If you want more info on the first process, click here for Part 1!

Hair Lightening Experience Part 2- 
In the original post I went from a base dark chocolate color to a warm lighter brown by getting a partial set of highlights.  Then about a month later I did a full highlight without documenting it for you all *gasp*.  Then it was on to this current session where I badly needed my roots done and did a partial highlight again.  This is the result compared to the last time I posted about my hair color:

Cool beans right?  Anyway, I'm looking at getting another set of full highlights next, but obviously (based on wanting to maintain the integrity of my hair) it's going to be a while before anyone thinks I'm a fully light brown-ish blonde.  Just like baking a turkey, low and slow is best when using bleach to lighten dark hair.  For example, If you were to cook a turkey fully on a high temperature, it would be edible, but the inside would be really dry and the outside really damaged/burnt.  The same thing when you make hair lighter using a strong bleach and go really light all at once.  I'm also enjoying watching my hair go through a bunch of subtle transformations.  Again, Krystin at Groove Salon* in San Francisco is the miracle worker behind this whole thing.

Can you DIY this?  Can you do this process at home with a low volume developer (think 5 volume, not even 10. Forget 20+ volume developer or you will be a sad burnt turkey), bleach powder, and a toner? It is possible. But honestly, I would really suggest going to a professional if you are interested in going lighter.  Let me tell you, doing highlights on your own head will end in DISASTER! You will look like a 90's bleached zebra, end up with patches not highlights, or be a lovely shade of neon orange that reminds you of a certain powdered drink made for astronauts.  I know it's more expensive, but I have been shocked how great my hair condition is compared to when I DIY-ished myself lighter in my teenage years.  Also, a good hair colorist will make sure you are satisfied with your color and give you realistic expectations for each visit.  P.S.  If the information in this paragraph sounded like I was speaking Elvish or Klingon (aka a foreign language for you non-geeks) then you should 100% have this done by a professional. Ok? Ok.  Mini-Tip: If you are on a very tight budget, my suggestion is look into getting it done at your local beauty school.  The students are overseen by professional instructors so you can get professional quality services cheaper than at a salon. Though it is slightly higher risk, I'd pick this over trying to bleach your hair yourself.  If you are cool with nuking your hair, then by all means, slap on high volume developer and a powder bleach.  Your hair will be lighter and you also may be mistaken for a poodle.

Handing Breakage-
As anyone who has chemically treated their hair through coloring, perming, or relaxing knows, it weakens each individual strand of hair.  This makes the hair much more prone to breaking and snapping.  Here are a few of my main tips and tricks for keeping this to a minimum so you can have chemically treated hair and keep it healthy and long!

  1. Handle with care.  Don't roughly do anything to your hair.  It is already weakened by chemical processing.  It is even weaker when it is wet (so washing less using dry shampoo is great!).  Whenever you wash, style, brush, comb, or even just fiddle with your hair, do it very gently.  Would you roughly tug a piece of wet toilet paper when you want to use it to make a great mummy costume?  No! Same with your hair.  Brush/comb it in small sections starting from the bottom up.  Gently squeeze your hair dry (don't rough it up, tug, ring, or aggressively twist).  Hair=delicate fabric, not a doggie tug-o-war toy.  Honestly, if you can avoid touching your hair during the day, do that too.  The skin of your hands will strip moisture from your hair along with add necessary physical stress to your hair.   
  2. Condition with the right stuff.  This is one of those things you have to get to know your own hair for, but generally if you are experiencing a lot of breakage you need either a protein or "repairing" conditioner or a moisturizing conditioner.  Is suggest having one of each depending on your hair mood at the time.  As I have mentioned in my regular conditioner post, if you take a wet piece of your hair, pull it from either end, and it keeps stretching like a rubber band, then you need a protein rich or "repairing" conditioner at the moment.  If it just snaps and breaks, you need a moisturizing one. This might be a good time to mention if you use too much protein on your hair, it can actually make it brittle and more prone to breaking.
  3. Deep Condition.  If the regular conditioners above aren't cutting it, once or twice a week try using a deep conditioning treatment (protein or moisturizing again, depending on why your hair is breaking...see test in #2 above--or just read this whole report from beginning to end like you are supposed to Mr. Speedreader...) Deep conditioners have more concentrated active ingredients and are made to be left in your hair for longer to allow time for all the goodness to absorb into your hair and help heal it.  Good stuff right?  You can make it work even better by applying generous amounts of deep conditioner to your hair, the putting on a shower cap and leaving it in for longer (be careful doing this with protein shampoos for the reasons you should have read in #2 above *wink*).  If you are even more ambitious you can apply heat to the shower capped hair with a blow drier to open up the hair cuticle and encourage the conditioning process.
  4. Silicone.  Keep in mind my report on silicone in hair products.  I'll leave it at that.
  5. Oil Hair Treatment.  Oiling your hair has many benefits since it is your body's natural way of keeping your hair healthy and shiny.  If a moisturizing/protein conditioner isn't working, try oiling!  My favorite way is to use coconut oil because it it has the smallest oil particles and really absorbs well into your hair.  I discuss how I do it in my coconut oil post in section #5.  You can also try this with olive oil, caster oil, avocado oil, or almond oil.  You may find one works better for you than others.  Luckily, these oils are all pretty cheap! Hooray!
I hope you enjoyed this report on my hair color and anti-hair breaking tips! 

As Always,
Shine and Sparkle!

*I am not paid or sponsored by any of the products or entities mentioned in this post.  All were payed for with my own money.  These are my personal thoughts/opinions and recounting of events.


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